The last session of the second round of talks in Geneva lasted just 27 minutes — and ended with an apology from United Nations mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi.
"I am very, very sorry, and I apologize to the Syrian people that their hopes — which were very, very high that something will happen here," he said. "I apologize to them that on these two rounds, we have not helped them very much."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stonewalled the peace talks and would rather win "this on the battlefield rather than to come to the negotiating table with good faith."
"Assad himself is a magnet for terrorism," said Kerry. "He is the principal magnet of the region for attracting foreign fighters to Syria." Kerry added that the regime has intensified its assault on its civilian population with barrel bombs and starvation.
It was the United States and Russia that brought the warring parties in Syria to the negotiating table. Yet Kerry had harsh words for Russia on Monday, saying its military support for the Assad regime has enabled the government to double down, creating an enormous problem.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem pushed back, saying that it was the United States that had created what he called "a negative climate" for the talks.
The opposition blamed the regime. "We are saying that the way the regime is negotiating is not leading to a result ... These negotiations are not going in any direction," said Syrian National Coalition spokesman Louay Safi.
More than 140,000 Syrians have died since the beginning of the civil war, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Nearly half of those killed were civilians, and 7,000 were children.
With a bleak humanitarian situation in the ancient city of Homs, U.N. emergency relief officials were able to evacuate more than 1,000 people. After more than a year of fighting, a fragile cease-fire allowed peacekeepers to guide women, children and disabled residents out of the city, where they had been caught in the middle of the brutal battle.
But thousands more remain behind, and the United Nations is requesting a continuation of the cease-fire in order to get much-needed food and supplies to the besieged city.
spokesman, Syrian National Coalition
This panel was assembled for the broadcast of “Inside Story.”
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